Eskom has announced the dismissal of its chief procurement officer Solly Tshitangano, with immediate effect after a disciplinary process found him guilty of several charges. Tshitangano was suspended by the power utility’s CEO Andre De Ruyter back in February.
Tshitangano had levelled a series of allegations against De Ruyter, including that he’d launched a purge against mainly black suppliers and was responsible for financial irregularities at Eskom. The matter even went to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), which started its own probe, but later put it on hold.
“At his disciplinary hearing, he sought to place reliance upon alleged disclosures to trigger a defence based on the Protected Disclosures Act and Eskom’s Whistle Blowing Policy,” Eskom said of Tshitangano.
He was suspended by De Ruyter for failing to turn around Eskom’s procurement division and subsequently charged. Tshitangano is also accused of failing to disclose his relationship with Eskom’s supplier Econ Oil.
“The chairman of the hearing, an independent advocate, determined that he would provide the CPO with an opportunity to answer to the supplementary misconduct charges relating to Econ Oil’s relationship with Eskom and the apparent support by the CPO of the continuation of that relationship after he had joined Eskom in early 2019, before ruling on the protected disclosure application,” the utility further said.
Dismissed Tshitangano had no evidence against Eskom
According to Eskom, Solly Tshitangano had no evidence to bely the utility’s allegations against him.
“While Eskom relied on the evidence of two witnesses, together with a forensic report from law firm Bowmans, the CPO elected not to give any evidence in his own defence. His legal representative did, however, cross examine Eskom’s witnesses,” Eskom said.
It said the chairman of the disciplinary proceedings dismissed Tshitangano’s defence based on protected disclosure and found that it was an attempt on his part to divert attention from his conduct.
“He found Mr Tshitangano guilty on five charges: serious misconduct in failing to carry out his duties; contravening the Public Finance Management Act; and for contravening Eskom’s Disciplinary Code in that he divulged confidential information to external parties”
Eskom said the chairman recommended dismissal as the only appropriate sanction against Tshitangano.